An Israeli investigative reporter says President Donald Trump revealed highly classified intelligence to Russian officials in the Oval Office — and it’s much worse than what’s been previously reported.
The president met with Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and then-U.S. ambassador Sergei Kislyak at the White House the day after he fired FBI director James Comey, and he reportedly revealed classified information about an Israeli spy operation.
The president boasted to the Kremlin officials that he had fired “nut job” Comey to relieve pressure in the Russia probe, and he also blabbed “code-word information” about a Mossad operation against the Islamic State.
But Israeli reporter Ronen Bergman told NPR the president’s revelations were even worse than has been disclosed.
“The nature of the information that President Trump revealed to Foreign Minister Lavrov is of the most secretive nature, And that information could jeopardize modus operandi of Israeli intelligence,” said Bergman, author of Rise and Kill First:The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.
Bergman, who said he has been pressured by the Israeli government for his reporting, said he could not publicly reveal the sensitive information Trump disclosed to senior Russian officials.
“Most of it, we don’t yet know, and there were conflicting reports,” Bergman said. “I cannot – in order not to be part of disclosing secret information and jeopardizing Israeli and the U.S. ability to track down terrorists and proliferate, I prefer not to go into the details of that.”
The president has also pushed for the release of a memo prepared by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), which Russian bots have also promoted on social media, that U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials say could reveal sources and methods for gathering intelligence.
“Just a year ago, I published a story that created a lot of controversy,” Bergman told NPR. “I said – and I was surprised to hear that from my sources in the beginning – that a group of American intelligence officers, in a regular meeting with the Israeli counterparts, just before Trump was elected and before the inauguration, they suggested that the Israelis stop giving sensitive material to the White House.”
“They said we are afraid that Trump or someone of his people are under leverage from the Russians, and they might give sensitive information to the Russians who, in their turn, would give that to Iran,” he continued. “They said we have evidence that part of the material that Edward Snowden stole from the CIA and NSA – and was not yet published – found its way to Iran, and we believe, of course, that he gave everything he had to the Russians.”
Bergman said Israeli officials were shocked by the highly unusual warning.
“They have never heard Americans say something of that kind about their chief and commander – about the president — and when, just few months after that, it turned out that everything – all the predictions that the Americans have made to the Israelis as warnings – not because they knew it was going to happen but they thought it might – everything came to be true,” Bergman said. “And President Trump apparently gave secret information, and I know the nature of that information. It is indeed delicate and very, very secret.”
He said Trump’s actions have greatly alarmed Israeli intelligence officials.
“Israeli intelligence feel that the American administration is in chaos – is in havoc,” Bergman said. “It’s not functioning properly – not intentionally, but that leads to further leaks. And they are very hesitant with sharing everything they have, as they did in the past, with their American counterparts.”